An old prophet of Bethel lies to the man of God from Judah, only to lead him to disobey God's command and to die as a result. The man of God is killed for disobedience, while the old prophet lives on and eventually even benefits from the death (2 Kgs 23:18). Why did God punish his prophet who was deceived, not the one who deceived? The text keeps silent about this as well as about the motive of the old prophet's lying.
This strange story takes up a big portion of the Jeroboam narrative (1 Kgs 11-14). For what purpose would the narrator have included the story in his coverage of Israel's history during the reign of King Jeroboam? Does this story have any relevance to the rise and fall of the first king of the northern kingdom? If so, how?
As it untangles the difficult details of the story, this book reveals the narrator's perspective on the way God intervened in the history of Israel and focuses on the suffering that God's prophets sometimes had to undergo as bearers of God's words.